Comrade chat 11-1
Sakharov identifies three major threats to “freedom of thought,” which he considers essential to human progress. Find the paragraph that begins “But freedom of thought is under a triple threat…” Read that paragraph and the next two. Do these threats still exist in 2020? If so, how do they show up in your own experience? Sakharov says that combatting them is the work of all people, but he reserves a special role for the intelligentsia. What would Lenin have thought of this idea? Does Sakharov convince you that the intelligentsia should play a special role?
Sakharov considers the three threats: censorship from the upper class, deliberate mass culture, and cowardly/egotistic/philistine ideologies.
In this lovely year of 2020 these threats still exist, just in a different form. Censorship comes from social media. Certain ideas are hidden by carefully crafted algorithms. A girl posting a photo in a sports bra is likely to get taken down. I’ve been censored and blocked by tik tok frequently. Mass thought and sheep people are all over the place on social media. People repost and share content without even verifying that that content is actually true. It’s a whole mass of idiots following a bunch of other idiots. Social media also gives a platform for crazy reckless stupid unfounded and dangerous ideals to be promoted. Anyone can post whatever they want to say. Things can get taken down, but they don’t always catch everything. Algorithms are more directed to sensory nudity and to censor violence and to sensor vulgar language. Radical ideas and misinformed issues are not very centered though. The principles that he talks about in his speech are still prevalent in our society just in a different way.
The intelligentsia are supposed to be educated people who assume positions of leadership. Sakharov believes that they should cater to the interests of the working class. It’s a sort of way to stop the intelligentsia from acting with caste biases. It’s ironic that Sakharov wants intelligentsia to play a special rule but also wants them to not be more special than other people. I was personally a little confused about that. I don’t think Lenin would have been on board. Sakharov wanted to favor one group of people in a certain class as crucial for his purposes. That isn’t in line with what Lenin would have advocated for. Sakharov questions if any group of people will look out for the working class instead of personal interest. And that’s exactly why I’m not convinced by his argument. That seems like some self doubt. Why is any group of people more suited to fix societal problems? Wouldn’t it take cooperation sad effort across the board?